Five Business Lessons of Being Hacked by a Terrorist

On Monday morning, May 3rd, Jew Central’s home page- was hacked by the military wing of the Sheik Ahmad Yassin Brigades. Despite the horribleness of the attack, we did learn some business lessons.

On Monday morning, May 3rd, Jew Central’s home page- was hacked. A big bold banner appeared with anti-Israel propaganda, the site’s title was changed and all Jew Central’s users received a hate email. The passwords were changed so we didn’t have access to change our own site. Through the backend end we quickly removed the most offending message while we working on regaining control, only to see the message back a short time later.

We have since regained control of the site and enacted more stringent security measures, but we are still sad. Jew Central is a non-political site dedicated to helping Jewish professionals achieve success. It is a site of unity, not divisiveness. This fact was not researched by the terrorist; just by having the word Jew in our name we were defaced. The proverbial yellow star is still affixed on anything Jewish.

While we don’t want to diminish what terrorists and other hate-ists have done, I’ll ignore the large picture and leave the political implications of this to the experts. What I’ll examine in a logical way is how this act was simply a bad business move and the lessons we can learn from it to make our businesses stronger.

1. Protect Yourself
The first non-emotional response is to figure out how to protect ourselves in the future. While we don’t have the budgets to start a homeland defense department we can take steps so that this won’t happen in the future.

  • Speak with your IT staff or web host about potential vulnerabilities.
  • Take an inventory of all your applications and make sure they all have the most recent security fixes.
  • Back up your data often so that you can always revert to a previous version of your site.
    This can happen to any site even if you don’t have anything Jewish on it. Competitors and random hackers can pick on you.

    2. Know where to place your marketing
    The terrorist who defaced Jew Central clearly never took a marketing course (and we could say a few other choice words here of things they don’t know). When sending a message to potential clients don’t annoy them with an in-your-face ad. Certainly stealing and causing destruction to get a message across will paint your message in a negative light. Angering your customers causes them to leave you and they don’t come back.

    3. You can’t change people’s minds
    Many times you will come across potential customers or suppliers who don’t see your value proposition. Learn to asses when you’re in one of these situations, make you best pitch and move on. Wasting your time with these entities takes away from time you have to do something more productive with other customers.

    4. Realize your niche
    Jew Central isn’t a political site and although we are being pulled into a new market we realize our skills are better placed elsewhere.

    5. Look at the positive.
    In business there are many setbacks. Keeping a positive frame of mind can help over. The greatest relief we get from this incident is that this bomb was directed at a web page and not at a person, bits and bytes are easily reassembles, flesh and tears aren’t.

    Another positive we can take is that our site has been recognized by the “enemy” to be of value- you can’t get a bigger compliment than that.

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